Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
This passage was a little tough for me to tackle. Love is everywhere in the Bible. It’s the most prominent idea in the New Testament. Christ tells us constantly to love one another, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love our enemies.
But perhaps the most powerful statement Christ made about love is found in John 13.35, in which he is quoted thus: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So what is it that defines us as Christ-followers? Is it not our love for each other?
I’m often convicted of my own unwillingness to love fellow believers. I grew up among very judgmental believers who stood behind the standard of “Biblical Separation” as though it were the defining banner of Christianity. “Don’t listen to that kind of music. Don’t watch those kinds of movies. Don’t hang out with those kinds of people.”
After coming out of that kind of environment, it would be easy for me to turn around and judge those people for their judgment of other believers, for their blatant disobedience of Paul’s admonition in Romans 2 that “in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”
But in doing so, I do the very same thing. It’s not easy to love those who have condemned you. But it’s what Christ called us to do. It’s how everyone will know that we belong to him. The songs we sing, the clothes we wear, the words we say—none of it says “I’m a Christian” better than the love we show for each other, for the outsiders, and for our enemies.
“Father-God, fill me with your love. So much that it pours out of me onto others. It’s easy to love the like-minded believer, and even to love the lost because of the longing to see them come to you. But Father, it’s hard for me to love those who’ve hurt me. The branch of believers who’ve placed harsh labels on me. Give me the grace I need to love them too.”